Kai Slaughter receives Dorrington Award
Kai Slaughter, a third-year PhD student in biomedical engineering, has received a Jennifer Dorrington Graduate Research Award for 2022.
Slaughter is developing novel approaches for the delivery of cancer drugs in high doses using nanoparticles. Unlike conventional methods, which rely on helper compounds that can be toxic to the patient, nanoparticles could be designed to carry large amounts of therapeutics and deliver them directly into cells.
He is supervised by the Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research’s Molly Shoichet, a University Professor of chemical engineering and applied chemistry in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering who is world renowned for her bioengineering research.
Slaughter is engineering drug-rich formulations by exploiting the natural tendency of some chemotherapy drugs to form aggregates. This results in a nanoparticle composed almost entirely of the active drug, therefore reducing the need for helper compounds.
“This type of drug aggregation was actually discovered as a cause of false hits in drug screening assays, but we’re taking advantage of this phenomenon for more efficacious drug delivery,” said Slaughter, who previously won a Cecil Yip Doctoral Research Award.